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University students persevering through COVID-19 crisis

'I would say the university has been great in terms of making some educated decisions in terms of what is best for the students'
2015 10 7 Nipissing University doors turl
File photo.

Hannah Mackie says she is trying her best to transition into online learning in hopes of finishing up her third year in Business at Nipissing University. 

"It has been great, to be honest," said Mackie.  

"Again my faculty members have been very understanding in terms of what kind of content is left to teach, and what is the best way to evaluate that and how can we have that exchange to make sure students are passing their courses, but passing the courses in a deserving way."

Mackie is also the Nipissing University Student Union president, and while she is working her way through these uncharted waters, she admits it has been an overwhelming experience. 

"I think it has had a huge impact on the students at Nipissing University especially with all the new information that is coming in each day. I think everyone is trying to respond as quickly as they can but it is difficult when information soon becomes outdated," said Mackie. 

Mackie gives credit to Nipissing University for doing such a great job at coordinating everything in such a short time. 

"I would say the university has been great in terms of making some educated decisions in terms of what is best for the students," she said.  

"I think the school has really risen to the challenge quite well in terms of making sure, as we make our way through a new online format and the campus has closed down, that services were still available for students such as counselling services and different academic support. They've moved to an online format - so really doing the best that they can to try to have as many successful outcomes as they can. 

A number of classes are using online teaching programs, which Mackie believes has been working well.  

"Nipissing University really relies on hands-on learning interaction so integrity has not been compromised, it has been a struggle but they are doing really well," said Mackie.  

"We do already operate off of a Blackboard Learning system, which is like an electronic learning management system. There are a lot of tools on there that people have been able to utilize and access for professors who have already been teaching through Blackboard collaborate which is a video conferencing classroom tool." 

She says there are other challenges, such as keeping up with the demand at the student food bank.  

"That vulnerable population needs our support now more than ever," said Mackie.  

"It has been huge pressure on our food bank. We are seeing really high numbers recently so we are definitely trying to keep up with making sure we are getting donations and making sure it is stocked." 

On top of that, NUSU is working to provide support for students away from the classroom. 

"We are offering some online programs for students such as how to be productive during times like these, general stress management, and different things like that. We have online workshops that students can register for and participate in. We make sure there are things for students to be doing," she said.  

"It is really hard to be cooped up in your home and just finding a way to engage students."

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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